San Diego

Wrong Turn Puts Car in Train's Path at Downtown Crossing

A confused driver found his vehicle stuck on the railroad tracks and in the path of an oncoming train near downtown San Diego early Wednesday, officials said.

A northbound Amtrak train struck the four-door sedan as it sat on the tracks at the intersection of Palm Avenue and California Street just after 6 a.m. Wednesday, San Diego County Sheriff's Deputies said.

The vehicle suffered major damage. No one was inside it at the time.

The driver called 911 before the collision to report that his vehicle was stuck on the tracks and could not be budged, officials said.

Apparently the man was looking for the entrance to the airport parking lot and turned into an alley thinking it was the entrance, Sgt. Jason King said.

The driver and a few bystanders tried to move the car but were unsuccessful.

Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to alert the Amtrak engineer, officials said. Within five minutes the train was at the crossing.

The engineer slowed down and activated the train's horn. Still, the train was traveling at approximately 30 to 40 mph, deputies said.

Two trains were canceled - one northbound and one southbound. Trolley service was not affected.

As of 8 a.m., the tracks were clear and trains had resumed their schedules.

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